AirAsia looks to boost ancillary services through Touristly investment

AirAsia plans to acquire 50% of Touristly, an online travel planning service for the APAC region.

The value of the deal is said to be just over £2 million (Rm11.5 million) and includes an asset injection of the digital platform of AirAsia’s inflight magazine, Travel 3Sixty, and a loan.

According to a statement, handing over Travel3Sixty will enable Touristly to reach the airline’s 60 million passengers via various online and offline touchpoints.

AirAsia views the deal as boosting its ancillary services as it will enable the carrier to offer in-destination tours, activities and restaurants to passengers.

AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes believes the deal brings the business “a step closer to becoming a truly one-stop digital airline.”

Fernandes will become chairman of the Touristly board once the acquisition is complete.

AirAsia is not the only airline looking to create a digital store for more than just flights. Ryanair has made no secret of its ambitions to become “one of the world’s biggest travel selling sites.”

Ancillary services continue to be big business for airlines with the annual IdeaWorks CarTrawler report estimating ancillary revenue would reach $67.4 billion in 2016.

Touristly, which launched about two years ago, previously received funding from Tune Labs, the startup incubator for AirAsia parent Tune Group.

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